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INTRODUCTORY  ESSAY.                                233
The earliest explorer of the flora of Assam was Major Jen-
kins, who transmitted to Sir W. Hooker very extensive collec-
tions. Wallich, Griffith, and McClelland visited the valley in
1835, to investigate tjie then recently discovered tea forests,
and Griffith returned to it more than once, so that its vegeta-
tion is now well known, Mrs. Mack and Mr. Simons have also
enriched the*Hookerian Herbarium with many interesting As-
sam plants. The Ranunculus Chinensis, a well marked Chi-
nese species, occurs nowhere else in India;" and Griffith has
pointed out a multitude of instances of similarity between the
floras of these two countries, in his able Report on the culti-
vation of the tea-plant in the Transactions of the Agricultural
Society of Calcutta. The manufecture of tea has now been
carried on for some years with considerable success in Upper
Assam, but the wild tea (whose abundance in the forests
of some parts led to the attempt in the first instance) is no
longer used for that purpose. Griffith has given a general ac-
count of the -botany of the Assam valley, in his Report on the
tea cultivation already alluded to; as also in his "Remarks
on a collection of plants made at Sadya, in Uppet Assam,"
published in the Calcutta Asiatic Society's Journal, and in his
private journals. He mentions having collected 1500 species,
and computes that the whole flora must amount to at least
6000,an estimate which, like all such made on similar data,
is greatly exaggerated, and probably doubles the actual amount.
The mountain range which bounds Assam on the south is
known by a great diversity of names in different parts of its
course, according to the different tribes by whom it is in-
habited. The only part of the range which is well explored
is that called the Khasia hills, across which a good road runs,
by which a communication is kept up between Silhet and
Gowahatti, the capital of Assam. These mountains have
been explored botanically by Wallich and Griffith, and more
recently l>y ourselves.